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Overview: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

This high-level comparison between the current SAT and the redesigned SAT highlights major design features of the two tests. The first table provides a comparison of the major features of the current SAT and redesigned SAT. The second table provides a comparison by test, including the number of items and testing time. It is important to note that while the information in these tables represents our best understanding of the nature and features of the redesigned SAT, some specific elements, such as timing, length, and reported scores, are subject to revision based on the ongoing research process that guides the redesign.

Major Features

Comparison of the Major Features: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT
CategoryCurrent SATRedesigned SAT
Total Testing Time*

 

*Redesigned SAT testing time subject to research

3 hours and 45 minutes3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
Components
  1. Critical Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Mathematics
  4. Essay
  1. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • Reading Test
    • Writing and Language Test
  2. Math
  3. Essay (optional)
Important Features
  • Emphasis on general reasoning skills
  • Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts
  • Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
  • Continued emphasis on reasoning alongside a clearer, stronger focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings most important for college and career readiness and success
  • Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact
  • Rights-only scoring (a point for a correct answer but no deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
Essay
  • Required and given at the beginning of the SAT
  • 25 minutes to write the essay
  • Tests writing skill; students take a position on a presented issue
  • Optional and given at the end of the SAT; postsecondary institutions determine whether they will require the Essay for admission
  • 50 minutes to write the essay
  • Tests reading, analysis, and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text
Score Reporting*

 

*Redesigned SAT scores subject to research

  • Scale ranging from 600 to 2400
  • Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Critical Reading; 200 to 800 for Mathematics; 200 to 800 for Writing
  • Essay results scaled to multiple-choice Writing
  • Scale ranging from 400 to 1600
  • Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three traits for Essay
  • Essay results reported separately
Subscore Reporting NoneSubscores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, admission officers, educators, and counselors

Test Length and Timing

Comparison of Test Length and Timing: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT
Current SATRedesigned SAT
ComponentTime Allotted
(minutes)
Number of
Question/
Tasks
ComponentTime
Allotted (minutes)
Number of 
Questions/
Tasks
Critical Reading

70

67

Reading

65

52

Writing

60

49

Writing and Language

35

44

Essay

25

1

Essay
(optional)

50

1

Mathematics

70

54

Math

80

58

Total

225

171

Total

180
(230 with Essay)

154
(155 with Essay)

Score Components

Comparison of Score Components: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT
ComponentCurrent SATRedesigned SAT
Total Score 01
Section Scores 22
Test Scores N/A3 plus Essay scores
Cross-Test Scores N/A2
Subscores N/A7